Occupy Wall Street In The Age Of Trump

| Resist!

Above photo: By Tequila Minsky, Occupy Wall Street alumni Elliot Crown, in mask, and Marni Halasa, showed up for the 6th-anniversary return to Downtown’s Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17.

New York City – It has been six years since the movement calling itself Occupy Wall Street took over Downtown’s Zuccotti Park for a weeks-long demonstration that spawned similar actions across the country protesting corporate greed, social and economic inequality, and the domination of the “One Percent.”

The encampments have long-since dispersed but dozens of die-hard Occupiers and activists gathered at the place where it all began on Sept. 17 in Zuccotti Park to declare that the movement still has work to do — now more than ever.

Occupy alum Marni Halasa — who is running as an independent for the City Council seat in District 3 on a platform of saving small businesses — said that even though the demonstrations fizzled, the movement spawned advocacy groups and inspired activists, taught people how to protest, and prompted many progressives to run for public office in the years since.

The ascendancy of Donald Trump to the Oval Office has re-energized many of the same protesters to become leading voices in resistance against his agenda.

Jerry Ashton, who came to the anniversary to share his admiration for all those who protested six years ago, was inspired in the wake of Occupy Wall Street to create a charity, co-founding RIP Medical Debt, which takes in donations and uses that money to pay off people’s medical debts.

With Trump and the Republican Party’s again pushing to repeal Obamacare, Ashton said it’s more important than ever to help the 64 million Americans struggling to pay off their medical bills.

“There should be a desire to relieve this burden,” said Aston. “They have to realize that this struggle goes across party lines.”

Halasa said that she sees Trump’s rise as not only energizing but sharpening the often disparate Occupy movement, giving it a focus it sorely lacked in the beginning.

“Groups are more focused, one demand is to get Trump out of office,” said Halasa. “In Occupy, we had a host of issues we were fighting for, but these groups, such as Rise and Resist, their whole focus is to drive Trump out of office.”

Photo by Tequila Minsky An activist called “Miss K” was inspired by Occupy Wall Street six years ago to become a crusader for affordable housing.

Photo by Tequila Minsky
An activist called “Miss K” was inspired by Occupy Wall Street six years ago to become a crusader for affordable housing.

An activist who goes by the monicker “Miss K” was also inspired by Occupy Wall Street to become a crusader for affordable housing, which see sees as the only solution to the city’s homelessness crisis.

“My activism started right after the protesters were moved out,” she said. “I was there this year to let people know that finding affordable housing is a crisis and homelessness is on the rise.”

She is part of an organization called Picture the Homeless which is fighting against landlords who hold on to vacant property or empty housing units until they can sell them for profit. The organization is also pushing the city to compile a public list all vacant properties throughout the city.

“Many of the groups that you see protesting are from people that learned from Occupy. They were there during the protest, they watched and learned,” said Halasa. “I must say the legacy of Occupy Wall Street will forever live on.”

  • AlanMacDonald

    “The encampments have long-since dispersed but dozens of die-hard
    Occupiers and activists gathered at the place where it all began …. to declare that the movement still has work to do — now more than ever.”

    Boy is that an understatement!

    The original “Occupy” movement deserves some credit for ‘lighting a fire’ after the 2008/9 massive looting of wealth — but the absence of any focused ‘strategy’ and particularly no ‘strategic narrative’, allowed the media/propaganda-sector of this Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE to easily confuse, delude, divide, dis-empower, defuse, and rip-apart any coherence with far too many splinter-ISSUES, like; “corporate greed, social and economic inequality, the domination of the “One Percent”, and dozens of other non-integrated ‘ISSUES’ — to the point that the Empire turned this diversity into such divided disorder that when the media asked, “What’s your agenda?, What are your demands? What are you Protesting about?” — The Occupy spokespeople were vague and confusing — with no core strategy or ‘strategic narrative’!

    I can remember my early protest signs in ’11 in Portland, Boston, DC. etc. which simply said “Occupy EMPIRE”, and when any media asked what it was about i’d simply say, “We’re against the EMPIRE” and “It’s a Revolution to Occupy the EMPIRE” — and when a reporter was dumb enough to ask “What EMPIRE?” — I just said, “Why …. This EMPIRE that has ‘captured’ controls, and is Occupying our former country” and then the reporters would turn-tail and run away from such a dangerous and taboo subject.

    “Halasa said that she sees Trump’s rise as not only energizing but
    ‘sharpening the often disparate Occupy movement and giving it a focus’ it
    sorely lacked in the beginning.”

    Yes, the original Occupy movement certainly “sorely lacked any focus”!!

    But now, the serious potential exists to ignite a real Second American “Political Revolution Against EMPIRE”

    And although Bernie dropped the ball, big time, in his weak and confused campaign with the equally vague and incomplete two-word, vacuous ‘sound-bite’ “Political Revolution” — against what, Bernie?? — the potential still existed to get serious and ignite a real “Political Revolution against EMPIRE”!

    The disgusting and lying media/propaganda-sector of the Empire — along with all the other 6 sectors of the EMPIRE, the; corporate, financial, militarist, extra-legal, CFR ‘Plot-Tanks’, and of course this dual-party Vichy-political facade of faux-democracy just ‘posing’ as our former country can AND WILL, be; ‘called-out’, exposed, ‘shouted-down’, and non-violently gutted by ‘we the American people — if we ever take our thumbs out of our collective bum and fire a loud, public, sustained, ‘in the streets’, but totally peaceful “Shout (not shot) heard round the world” to ignite a Second American people’s “Political/economic and social Revolution Against EMPIRE”.

    But at this stage and time If 3% to 5% of the most informed, progressive, principled anti-war (and anti-Empire) younger patriotic, peaceful, Americans do not start to immediately; ‘call-out’, expose, ‘shout-down’, and overtly protest ‘in the streets’ against this cancer of EMPIRE, which now so clearly is killing our country under faux-EMPEROR/president Trump’s insane regime —- there will be no future for any of us, our children, grandchildren, our fellow global citizens, nor our fragile little world!

    So, WakeTF-Up Folks!

    BTW, the ONLY guy who understood this essential ‘strategy’ for Revolution against EMPIRE, and who in DC started an effective effort against this EMPIRE and an effort to FOCUS like an effin Laser on EMPIRE and Occupying the EMPIRE was your host here on Popular Resistance, Kevin Zeese!!!

  • kevinzeese

    Popular Resistance grew out of the Occupy Washington, DC occupy movement and involved other occupiers as writers. The movement has evolved but continues.